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Orangeburg Massacre Essay

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Orangeburg massacre

Background

In the days leading up to February 8, 1968, about 200 mostly student protesters gathered on the campus of South Carolina State University in Orangeburg ) to protest the segregation of the All Star Bowling Lane (now called All-Star Triangle Bowl), on US 301 (now SC 33). The bowling alley was owned by the late Harry K. Floyd.

That night, students threw firebombs, bricks and bottles and started a bonfire. As police attempted to put out the fire, an officer was injured by a thrown piece of banister. [ 2 ] The police stated that they believed they were under attack by small arms fire. A newspaper report said “about 200 Negroes gathered and began sniping with what sounded like ‘at least one automatic, a shotgun and other small caliber weapons’ and throwing bricks and bottles at the patrolmen.” [ 3 ]

Protesters insisted that they did not fire at police officers, but did hurl various objects and insults at the police. Evidence that police were being fired upon at the time of the incident was inconclusive. While no evidence has been presented that protesters were armed or had fired on officers, a 1968 newspaper article reported that students threw firebombs at buildings and that the sound of apparent sniper fire was heard. [ 4 ]

Officers fired into the crowd, killing three young men: Samuel Hammond, Henry Smith, both SCSU students, and Delano Middleton, a local student at Wilkinson High School. Twenty-eight others were wounded during the shooting or after in police abuse.

At a press conference the following day, Governor Robert E. McNair said the event was ". one of the saddest days in the history of South Carolina". [ 5 ] McNair blamed the deaths on outside Black Power agitators.

At the trial, the first federal trial of police officers for using excessive force at a campus protest, all nine defendants were acquitted. The activist Cleveland Sellers was the only person convicted and imprisoned (7 months) as a result of the incident. He represented the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and was convicted of having incited the riot that preceded the shootings. In 1973 he wrote The River of No Return: The Autobiography of a Black Militant and the Life and Death of SNCC. Twenty-five years later, Sellers was officially pardoned.

List of those involved Highway Patrol personnel involved in the shooting
  • Patrol Lieutenant Jesse Alfred Spell, 45
  • Sgt. Henry Morrell Addy, 37
  • Sgt. Sidney C. Taylor, 43
  • Corporal Joseph Howard Lanier, 32
  • Corporal Norwood F. Bellamy, 50
  • Patrolman First Class John William Brown, 31
  • Patrolman First Class Colie Merle Metts, 36
  • Patrolman Allen Jerome Russell, 24
  • Patrolman Edward H. Moore, 30
  • Patrolman Robert Sanders, 44 - was not charged in the massacre, but reportedly later made self-incriminating statements about having shot some of the rioters.
  • Samuel Hammond Jr. 18
  • Delano Herman Middleton, 17
  • Henry Ezekial Smith, 19
  • Patrolman David Sheally - His being injured preceded police opening fire on the crowd
  • Cleveland Sellers, 23 - Was later arrested and convicted of starting the riot. Received a full pardon in 1993.
  • Herman Boller Jr. 19
  • Johnny Bookhart, 19
  • Thompson Braddy, 20
  • Bobby K. Burton, 22
  • Ernest Raymond Carson, 17
  • Robert Lee Davis Jr. 19
  • Albert Dawson, 18
  • Bobby Eaddy, 17
  • Herbert Gadson, 19
  • Samuel Grant, 19
  • Samuel Grate, 19
  • Joseph Hampton, 21
  • Charles W. Hildebrand, 19
  • Nathaniel Jenkins, 21
  • Thomas Kennerly, 21
  • Joseph Lambright, 21
  • Richard McPherson, 19
  • Harvey Lee Miller, 15
  • Harold Riley, 20
  • Ernest Shuler, 16
  • Jordan Simmons III, 21
  • Ronald Smith, 19
  • Frankie Thomas, 18
  • Robert Watson, 19
  • Robert Lee Williams, 19
  • Savannah Williams, 19
  • John Carson - was beaten by highway patrol after he started questioning their involvement.
  • Louise Kelly Cawley, 27 - A pregnant woman, Louise was beaten and sprayed in the face with a chemical by policemen while trying to take the injured to the hospital. The beating was so severe that she had a miscarriage a week later.
  • John H. Elliot - was added to the list of those injured in the shooting on the 40th anniversary. Elliot said he was shot in the stomach the night of the massacre but did not go to the hospital for treatment.
Media coverage

The shootings at Orangeburg predated the Kent State shootings and Jackson State killings. This was the first incident of its kind on a United States university campus. The Orangeburg massacre received relatively little media coverage.

Historian Jack Bass attributed the discrepancy in media coverage, compared to that for later events, to the fact that the victims at Orangeburg were young black men protesting local segregation. [ 2 ] [ citation needed ] In addition, the shootings at Orangeburg happened at night, when media coverage was less. [ 2 ] At Kent State, in contrast, the victims were young whites protesting an increasingly unpopular and highly politicized U.S. war in Vietnam. They were attacked by members of the National Guard. which the media may have judged a more inflammatory aspect of the shootings. Other analysts have noted that later events in 1968, such as the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and candidate Robert Kennedy, and the Tet Offensive overshadowed the events at Orangeburg. [ 6 ]

South Carolina State University's gymnasium is named in memory of the three men. A monument was erected on campus in their honor and the site has been marked. All-Star Triangle Bowl was integrated. The Floyd family has maintained ownership and operation of the business.

In 2001 Governor Jim Hodges was the first governor to attend the university's annual memorial of the event. That same year, on the 33rd anniversary of the killings, eight survivors told their stories at a memorial service. Robert Lee Davis told an interviewer,

"One thing I can say is that I'm glad you all are letting us do the talking, the ones that were actually involved, instead of outsiders that weren't there, to tell you exactly what happened." [ 2 ]

The state general assembly recently passed a resolution recommending that February 8 be a day of remembrance for the students killed and wounded in the protest. [ citation needed ]

References Further reading
  • Sellers, Cleveland L. (1998), "Orangeburg Massacre: Dealing honestly with tragedy and distortion", The Times and Democrat . January 24, 1998.
  • Bass, Jack; Nelson, Jack (2003). The Orangeburg Massacre: Second Edition . Mercer University Press. ISBN  9780865545526. http://www.mupress.org/productdetails.cfm?PC=194.  
  • Watters, Pat, and Rogeau, Weldon (1968). Events at Orangeburg; a report based on study and interviews in Orangeburg, South Carolina, in the aftermath of tragedy. Southern Regional Council, Atlanta.
  • Beacham, Frank (2007). Whitewash: A Southern Journey through Music, Mayhem and Murder: Second Edition . Booklocker. ISBN  9781591131878. http://www.booklocker.com/books/939.html.  
External links Categories:
  • Conflicts in 1968
  • 1968 in South Carolina
  • History of African-American civil rights
  • History of South Carolina
  • South Carolina State University
  • Racially motivated violence against African Americans
  • University shootings in the United States
  • Local civil rights history in the United States
  • Deaths by firearm in South Carolina
  • African American history of South Carolina
  • Protest-related deaths
  • Massacres in the United States

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Other articles

The Orangeburg Massacre

Author: Kirsten Suprenant, Rivendell High School, Orford, NH
Grade Level:
11-12
Length of lesson:
Three 75-minute class periods
Historical Context:

  • Theme: Change and continuity in American democracy: ideas, institutions, events, key figures, and controversies
  • Era: Contemporary America (1945 to present)
Worksheets

Ticket to Leave Class (provided)
"What Happened in Orangeburg?" (provided)

"The Orangeburg Massacre" is a 3-day lesson toward the end of a 3-week Civil Rights unit that considers the question: What is the relationship among values, conflicts, choices and consequences? The Unit begins with a brief overview of the legal and social situation of blacks in America following the Civil War up to the Brown decision in 1954. Students then examine the Brown v. Board of Education Decision, the response of whites in the South and throughout the country, and read Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Patillo Beals, one of the nine students to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Students also examine issues and outcomes using selected documents/photographs/and film footage of the following events: the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Sit-In Movement, Freedom Rides, Voter Registration movements, the Selma March, and urban riots. By the time students begin the lesson about Orangeburg, they know the major players in the movement and the issues among the different Civil Rights organizations. They begin to see how the beliefs and philosophies of those involved in the movement change in the late 1960s. A worksheet entitled "What Happened in Orangeburg" and a "Ticket to Leave Class" are provided in other files.

Materials and Sources
  • Bass, Jack and Jack Nelson. The Orangeburg Massacre. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1984.
    • Chapter 6: The Massacre
    • Appendix A: Statements made by the nine highway patrolmen to the FBI
    • Appendix B: From Orangeburg to Kent State
  • Curfew Imposed by Governor in Orangeburg, S.C." The New York Times. February 10, 1968.
  • Davis, Mike. "Boycott Set in Orangeburg". The Afro American (Philadelphia Edition), February 17, 1968.
  • One Slain, 50 Shot in Carolina". The Atlanta Constitution. February 9, 1968.
  • Riot Brings Curfew in Carolina". The Atlanta Constitution. February 10, 1968.
  • Ford, Wally. "Afro-Ams Aid Victims of 'Atrocities'". The Dartmouth. February 19, 1968.
  • Trainor, Charles. "Afro-Ams Push Towards Goal of $1750". The Dartmouth. February 29, 1968.
  • AAS Envoy Investigates Orangeburg". The Dartmouth. February 29, 1968.
  • Sellers, Cleveland with Robert Terrell. The River of No Return. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1990.
    • Chapter 17: The Orangeburg Massacre
    • Chapter 18: Prisonbound
  • Williams, Cecil J. Freedom & Justice. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1995.
    • Chapter: The Orangeburg Massacre
Goals: For students to be able to
  • continue building reading and interpreting skills with primary sources;
  • further develop the ability to distinguish between fact and opinion;
  • continue ongoing efforts in all social studies classes to analyze and evaluate historical perspective from multiple sources;
  • draw conclusions based on historical evidence about what really happened in Orangeburg and why it matters in context of the Civil Rights Movement.
Procedures
  1. Divide students into four groups. (The number of students in each group and the number of document pages depends on the overall size of the class.) Give each group one of the following sets of documents about the Orangeburg Massacre:
    • Newspaper articles
    • Statements to the FBI by the South Carolina Highway patrolmen who fired the shots
    • 2 chapters from Cleveland Seller's autobiography about the Orangeburg Massacre
    • Photographs by photographer Cecil J. Williams & excerpts from chapter 5 and 6 of Bass and Nelson's book.

Give each group a "What happened in Orangeburg?" worksheet (provided).

  • Have students in each group read their respective documents with the following question in mind: What happened in Orangeburg on February 8, 1968?

    Once the group is finished reading, have them discuss the above question with each other and attempt to answer it in detail on the "What happened in Orangeburg?" worksheet.
  • Have each group discuss why the Orangeburg riot/massacre happened based on the evidence presented in their readings. The group then composes their response with supporting text evidence on their "What happened in Orangeburg?" worksheet.
  • Finally, each group lists questions that they have on their sheet about the event in Orangeburg.
    1. Once the groups are finished, each group explains "What happened in Orangeburg" to the class and gives their analysis of why it happened. Each group also presents their questions, and all questions are listed on the board for later discussion.
    2. Each group then photocopies their sheet of what happened and why and gives it to the other three groups. Groups then reexamine what happened given new information and points of view that are presented.
    3. Each group writes a one-page summary of what happened in Orangeburg, synthesizing the four different points of view presented. These are turned in for a group homework/in-class assignment grade.
    1. Full class discussion of the event. As a class, we go through the context behind the Orangeburg Massacre and discuss what really happened based on all of the documents students read. Questions raised by groups are also addressed at this point.
        Issues that I anticipate arising in the discussion:
  • Who really started it? Did Sellers really incite the attack? Were there any shots fired by students?
  • Why doesn't AAS at Dartmouth want SNCC to receive any aid?
  • Why wasn't the situation reported correctly?
  • Why weren't Americans outraged by this?
  • Why has the movement shifted so much?
  • Connections to Kent State, etc.
  • During the last 15 minutes or so of class (depending on how long the discussion goes) I hand them a "ticket to leave" with the following question: "What does the Orangeburg Massacre tell us about the Civil Rights movement in 1968?"

    Unit Content Standards

    NCHS Era 7 3A: Students understand social tensions and their consequences.
    NCHS Era 9 4A: Students understand the struggle for racial equality and for the extension of civil liberties.
    VT Standard 6.1 Uses of Evidence and Data
    VT Standard 6.3 Analyzing Knowledge
    VT Standard 6.12 Human Rights

    Assessment

    ORANGEBURG MASSACRE: definition of ORANGEBURG MASSACRE and synonyms of ORANGEBURG MASSACRE (English)

    Arabic Bulgarian Chinese Croatian Czech Danish Dutch English Estonian Finnish French German Greek Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Malagasy Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Spanish Swedish Thai Turkish Vietnamese

    Arabic Bulgarian Chinese Croatian Czech Danish Dutch English Estonian Finnish French German Greek Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Malagasy Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Spanish Swedish Thai Turkish Vietnamese

    definition - ORANGEBURG MASSACRE Orangeburg massacre

    February 8, 1968

    South Carolina State University students along with several Wilkinson High School students

    revolvers, shotguns, police batons, thrown objects

    9 patrolmen, approximately 200 protesters

    The Orangeburg massacre is the most common name given to an incident on February 8, 1968, in which nine South Carolina Highway Patrol officers in Orangeburg, South Carolina. fired into a crowd of protesters demonstrating against segregation at a bowling alley near the campus of South Carolina State College. a historically black college. Three men were killed and twenty-eight persons were injured; most victims were shot in the back. [ 1 ] One of the injured was a pregnant woman. She had a miscarriage a week later due to the beating by the police. It was the first such unrest on a university campus resulting in deaths of protesters.

    The event pre-dated the 1970 Kent State shootings and Jackson State killings. in which the National Guard at Kent State, and police and state highway patrol at Jackson State killed student protesters demonstrating against the United States invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War .

    Background

    In February 1968, black students were prohibited from entering the All Star Bowling Lane. a privately held facility on US 301 (now SC 33) and the only bowling alley in town. It was owned by the late Harry K. Floyd, who admitted only whites. The students protested at the door but were turned away. In the next two days, about 200 mostly student protesters gathered on the campus of South Carolina State University. a historically black college in Orangeburg ) to demonstrate against the continued segregation at the bowling alley.

    That night, students on campus threw firebombs, bricks and bottles, and started a bonfire. As police attempted to put out the fire, an officer was injured by a thrown object. [ 2 ] The police later said they believed they were under attack by small arms fire. A newspaper reported, "About 200 Negroes gathered and began sniping with what sounded like ‘at least one automatic, a shotgun and other small caliber weapons’ and throwing bricks and bottles at the patrolmen." [ 3 ] Similarly, a North Carolina newspaper reported that week that students threw firebombs at buildings and that the sound of apparent sniper fire was heard. [ 4 ]

    Protesters insisted that they did not fire at police officers, but threw objects and insulted the men. Evidence that police were being fired upon at the time of the incident was inconclusive, and no evidence was presented in court, as a result of investigations, that protesters were armed or had fired on officers. The officers fired into the crowd, killing three young men: Samuel Hammond, Henry Smith, both SCSU students; and Delano Middleton, a student at the local Wilkinson High School. Twenty-eight other persons were injured during the shooting or afterward by blows from police batons or other action.

    At a press conference the following day, Governor Robert E. McNair said the event was ". one of the saddest days in the history of South Carolina". [ 5 ] McNair blamed the deaths on outside Black Power agitators and said the incident took place off campus, contrary to the evidence.

    The federal government brought charges against the state patrolmen in the first federal trial of police officers for using excessive force at a campus protest. All nine defendants were acquitted.

    In a state trial in 1970, the activist Cleveland Sellers was convicted of a charge of riot related to the events, for events on Tuesday at the bowling alley (the protest was on Thursday night). He served 7 months in state prison, getting time off for good behavior. He was the national program director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1973 he wrote The River of No Return: The Autobiography of a Black Militant and the Life and Death of SNCC. Twenty-five years later, Sellers was officially pardoned by the governor of South Carolina.

    List of those involved Highway Patrol personnel involved in the shooting
    • Patrol Lieutenant Jesse Alfred Spell, 45
    • Sgt. Henry Morrell Addy, 37
    • Sgt. Sidney C. Taylor, 43
    • Corporal Joseph Howard Lanier, 32
    • Corporal Norwood F. Bellamy, 50
    • Patrolman First Class John William Brown, 31
    • Patrolman First Class Colie Merle Metts, 36
    • Patrolman Allen Jerome Russell, 24
    • Patrolman Edward H. Moore, 30
    • Patrolman Robert Sanders, 44 - was not charged in the massacre, but reportedly later made self-incriminating statements about having shot at some of the rioters.
    • Samuel Hammond Jr. 18
    • Delano Herman Middleton, 17
    • Henry Ezekial Smith, 19
    • Patrolman David Sheally - His being injured preceded police opening fire on the crowd
    • Cleveland Sellers, 23 - Was later arrested and convicted of starting the riot. Received a full pardon in 1993.
    • Herman Boller Jr. 19
    • Johnny Bookhart, 19
    • Thompson Braddy, 20
    • Bobby K. Burton, 22
    • Ernest Raymond Carson, 17
    • Robert Lee Davis Jr. 19
    • Albert Dawson, 18
    • Bobby Eaddy, 17
    • Herbert Gadson, 19
    • Samuel Grant, 19
    • Samuel Grate, 19
    • Joseph Hampton, 21
    • Charles W. Hildebrand, 19
    • Nathaniel Jenkins, 21
    • Thomas Kennerly, 21
    • Joseph Lambright, 21
    • Richard McPherson, 19
    • Harvey Lee Miller, 15
    • Harold Riley, 20
    • Ernest Shuler, 16
    • Jordan Simmons III, 21
    • Ronald Smith, 19
    • Frankie Thomas, 18
    • Robert Watson, 19
    • Robert Lee Williams, 19
    • Savannah Williams, 19
    • John Carson - was beaten by highway patrol after he started questioning their involvement.
    • Louise Kelly Cawley, 27 - Beaten and sprayed with a chemical, Cawley was trying to take the injured to the hospital. She had a miscarriage a week later.
    • John H. Elliot - on the 40th anniversary of the event, Elliott was added to the list of those injured. He said he was shot in the stomach that night but did not go to the hospital for treatment.
    Media coverage

    This was the first incident of its kind on a United States university campus. The Orangeburg killings received relatively little media coverage. The events predated the 1970 Kent State shootings and Jackson State killings. in which protesters against the Vietnam War were killed by National Guard, and local and state highway police, respectively. The overreaction by law enforcement helped galvanize public opinion against the war as well.

    The historian Jack Bass attributed the discrepancy in media coverage in part due to the Orangeburg incident occurring after large-scale urban riots. which made it seem small by comparison. It may not have been considered as newsworthy, especially as the shootings occurred at night, when media coverage, especially any television news, was less. [ 2 ] In addition, the victims at Orangeburg were mostly young black men protesting local segregation. [ 2 ] Linda Meggett Brown wrote that subsequent events in the spring of 1968: the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the Democratic presidential candidate; and the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, overshadowed the events at Orangeburg. [ 6 ]

    At Kent State, by contrast, Bass noted that the victims were young white students protesting the U.S. war in Vietnam. which had become increasingly unpopular and a highly politicized, national issue. They were attacked by members of the National Guard. which the media may have judged as a more inflammatory aspect of the shootings. The black students at Jacksonville State were also protesting the war, and the killings there took place shortly after those at Kent State. It appeared that law enforcement and university administrations had no idea about how to handle campus unrest. There was widespread public outrage about the events.

    • South Carolina State University's gymnasium is named in memory of the three men who were killed. A monument was erected on campus in their honor and the site has been marked. All-Star Triangle Bowl became integrated. The Floyd family still owns and operates the business.
    • In 2001 Governor Jim Hodges attended the university's annual memorial of the event, the first governor to do so. That same year, on the 33rd anniversary of the killings, an oral history project featured eight survivors telling their stories at a memorial service. It was the first time survivors had been recognized at the memorial event. Robert Lee Davis told an interviewer,

      "One thing I can say is that I'm glad you all are letting us do the talking, the ones that were actually involved, instead of outsiders that weren't there, to tell you exactly what happened." [ 2 ]

    • The state general assembly passed a resolution recommending that February 8 be a day of remembrance for the students killed and wounded in the protest. [ citation needed ]
    References Further reading
    • Sellers, Cleveland L. (1998), "Orangeburg Massacre: Dealing honestly with tragedy and distortion", The Times and Democrat . January 24, 1998.
    • Bass, Jack; Nelson, Jack (2003). The Orangeburg Massacre: Second Edition . Mercer University Press. ISBN  978-0-86554-552-6. http://www.mupress.org/productdetails.cfm?PC=194.  
    • Shuler, Jack. Blood and Bone: Truth and Reconciliation in a Southern Town. University of South Carolina Press, 2012.
    • Watters, Pat, and Rogeau, Weldon (1968). Events at Orangeburg; a report based on study and interviews in Orangeburg, South Carolina, in the aftermath of tragedy. Southern Regional Council, Atlanta.
    • Beacham, Frank (2007). Whitewash: A Southern Journey through Music, Mayhem and Murder: Second Edition . Booklocker. ISBN  978-1-59113-187-8. http://www.booklocker.com/books/939.html.  
    External links